Sunday, September 13, 2015

Smile Hiders

You probably know some. You probably are least sometimes. The times when someone asks how you are and you answer fine, probably even with a smile. We may then ask, "How are YOU?" and get a similar response. Maybe even with a smile. OR maybe the other person is a bit (or a lot) more comfortable actually letting you know how they are. Maybe you ask on a day that person really needs to talk. OR maybe we let it go at fine and a nod of the head and we're both on our way wondering does anybody really care anyway?

In our surface, solve everything in less than an hour (sit-com, drama, psych appointments) or 30 seconds (commercials), 140 character (Twitter) world, most people will let you go at fine and continue on with the conversation or a smile, hug, or even "I'll pray for you" and continue on with the day wondering does anybody really care anyway?

We become smile hiders. We hide behind a smile when we really feel like crying or laughing like a maniac, but we don't do that because what if people see us as weird or crazy? So you hold it in. And you smile and you wonder does anybody really care anyway?

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we take time, ('cuz we can't MAKE time), to really LISTEN and see past the smile? If you're not sure, ASK! To slow down enough to NOTICE when someone doesn't really look like they mean it? To show that somebody really DOES care? To share and know that we do NOT walk alone, for a hug, and a prayer....not later, but NOW!?!?!?!

Maybe we can practice. L.A.N.D. Listen/look. Ask. Notice. Do.

It can be uncomfortable to REALLY listen to someone else share their story.  However, in the sharing there is usually something you learn about yourself too.

Especially our surface, solve everything in less than an hour or 30 seconds, 140 character world: Become a person that can truly answer YES, SOMEBODY CARES! Stop hiding behind the smile! Become a person that can truly answer YES I KNOW SOMEONE CARES!

I've been a smile hider and I know I've met some along this journey of life. We ALL need somebody sometimes. We are not meant to be alone. We are meant to be a community. In fellowship with other humans. Sometimes it's scary to reach out and not know if somebody will see past the smile. Sometimes you just have to take the risk. I have met some of my very best friends that way.

Psalm 139:11-12 (NIV) If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Heavenly Daddy

Many years ago as a youth group leader, I made a comment. It wasn't even something I planned to say. It just came out. I had been hanging around teenagers enough to understand the relationship (or lack of) between parents and teens a bit better. A lot of them have pretty good relationships with their parents....up until they hit puberty or a bit after. Then the teen starts to put some distance between himself/herself and the parents. Sometimes the parents are not ready to give them the freedom they think they deserve. (Think rewards without the responsibilities!) Mostly, rightfully so, but it was difficult to get teens to see that.

One night I made the comment that the Bible talks about God being our "Heavenly Father". Sometimes, especially if you don't have the greatest relationship with your earthly dad that reference can be a barrier of someone getting to know God better.

Afterwards, one of the girls came up and said she was glad I had said that as that is how she felt. She didn't have a good relationship with her dad. I didn't know that when I said it. I'm almost positive now that I'm older that she is not the only one that had a bad relationship or no dad in the picture.

I have realized that we carry a bit of our parents around with us. Both the good and the bad. The bad can be a bit more difficult to let go. Things our parents said to us when we were younger can rumble around in our head and pop up when we're dealing with a similar situation with our own children. If we're not careful, some of that comes out even though we swore to ourselves we'd never do/say that with our kids.

As a kid, it is hard to understand that our parents don't know everything. We expect them to. We are born right in the middle of their income earning years. They may be dealing with us and their own parents. They may not have had the best relationship with their own parents. As a teen, it is hard to realize that in most cases, our parents are trying to do the best they can with what they know....or learn along the way.

Bad dads is not a new concept. There are even bad fathers IN the Bible. There was a man that messed up even before he became a father (Adam). There was a father that played favorites (Jacob with Joseph). There was a man who became a father by messing around with another man's wife and sending that man purposely into war to be killed (David). The Bible is a genealogy of fathers, of Kings, and Kings that were fathers. Some were good, not all were.

If we can bring ourselves to get past the issues with our human fathers, God gives us the opportunity to be adopted into His family with a perfect Father. For some, it may be quite a stretch to get to that point. I just submit to you to be willing to open your heart a little. I'm not promising it will be easy or perfect. I am promising it is worth getting to know a Heavenly Daddy that has been waiting for you with open arms.

Psalm 68:5 (NIV) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 103:8-19 (NIV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Matthew 7:11 (NIV) If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Romans 8:14-17 (NIV) For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.   

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV) Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Good Intentions

Things I would like to do (in no particular order just off the top of my head): Learn to play an instrument, piano?, Organize our house, Write what's in my head without feeling like I'm going crazy, Take time for devotions, Spend more time with my nieces and nephews, Encourage people, Enjoy life, Live in the moment.

Sounds easy, right? "Like" to do, so why not just do it? We all have a to-do list, goals, dreams, intentions. Call it whatever you like.

The dictionary definition of an intention is: the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose 

Basically, an intention is something we mean to do. It may or may not happen, but we plan on doing it.

We can make lots of plans, but until we actually take some steps to DO something it remains an intention. As a recovering procrastinating perfectionist, intentions could be my downfall. I will hesitate to try something or put it off because I may not do it well or to the standards I have in my head.

For example: I can want to play the piano, but if I never learn to read music or take a lesson my days of tickling the ivories probably will not happen. I could start to doubt and question myself before I even start so I don't start.

Apparently, the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too. - Aldous Huxley

While looking up some info to write this, the word intentional also came up. Since one of the intentions I have is to take time for devotions, I have some work to do! I will have to be more intentional about my intentions!

Philippians 3:12 (NIV) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Colossians 2:2 (NIV) My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,